Founding Director and Executive Producer at Crestlight Venture Productions
Jens Horstmann has 30 years of executive, technology and engineering experience in Silicon Valley and global High Tech industries. He is the founding Director and Executive Producer at Crestlight Venture Productions, a full service firm and venture fund. He served as VP of Entertainment Technology of NCR Corp. and advises other Fortune 500 companies. Previously, he was CTO, president and CEO of DVDPlay, the creator of Redbox’s original technology. Mr. Horstmann has invested in numerous start-ups, serves on several boards including Canadian’s Acceleware (TSE:AXE) and manages MXGO, an intellectual property licensing firm. He founded B2B solution provider Ensemble Solutions in the mid 1990s, was CEO of Open Grid, an early location based services pioneer and lectured at UC Berkeley. His prior experience includes senior engineering, research and development positions at Sun Microsystems, Siemens, LSI Logic’s Systems Research Laboratory, and X1 Corporation. He lives with his family in Silicon Valley and is an avid pilot.
General Manager and Head of HanaHaus
Daniel Zimmer relocated from Germany to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013. He is the General Manager and Head of HanaHaus, SAP’s first startup workspace cafe located in Palo Alto. Established in 2015, HanaHaus connects the next generation of innovators to the ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, students and researchers by providing an inspiring, state-of-the-art meeting environment. In addition, Daniel is part of the leadership team at the SAP Innovation Center in Palo Alto.
Prior to this role, Daniel was responsible for social media marketing and community events at SAP Startup Focus, a startup accelerator program for B2B companies who innovate on the SAP HANA technology.
Daniel holds two Masters Degrees from the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany where he focused on American Studies and Geography. He was born in Idar-Oberstein and used to live in the Frankfurt Rhein Main region before he moved to the U.S..
Daniel is passionate about the startup environment in the Silicon Valley, he likes to work on his vintage cars and explores the beauty of California through road trips. Together with his wife, Daniel lives in the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco and commutes to work in Palo Alto.
Women in Business Interest Group
Before being appointed to the GABA board of directors, Stefanie served GABA for four and a half years. First as event manager, then as program and marketing director, she helped shape the face of GABA to becoming the successful and welcoming networking platform it is today. Stefanie holds a master’s degree in communications from the Berlin University of the Arts, that she has applied to many different fields of work – from film license acquisition in Mexico City, to script consulting and planning of film pitches and workshops for different start-ups in Berlin. She was also part of the founding team of the new Youth section for the Berlin Film Festival. Stefanie has since ventured out into the world of mobile publishing and is in charge of the German edition of the News and Magazine App Flipboard and is still following her passion for film as a board member of the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco.
Southern California Chapter Chair
Co-founder of GABA’s Southern California Chapter
Treasurer until 2012, Chairman since 2013
With 25 years experience in taking businesses global, his consulting practice focuses on market entry into the US and Europe. Services include business presence, market entry, start-up and project management, as well as temporary CEO, COO, CFO and business services. Prior to founding WDE in 1998, he managed the successful globalization of a European based company from an $80 Mio business in 4 countries to a $400 Mio business in 19 countries. For 8 years based out of Europe and 7 years out of the US, he negotiated and successfully integrated over 20 acquisitions, started businesses from scratch, negotiated joint ventures, developed licensing and franchise programs and managed business units in Europe, Asia and North America.As a certified banker, he started his career in banking and finance in Stuttgart, Germany and Chicago, ILA graduate in Business Economics of the University of Saarbruecken, Germany, he earned his MBA from Union Graduate College in Schenectady, New York.
He served and serves on a number of corporate Boards of US subsidiaries, as Chairman of an Industry Association of Plastic Manufacturers in Germany, the Board of German American Schools, the International Advisory Council of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation and the German American Business Association of Southern California.
Financial Committee Chair
Entrepreneurs & VC IG Co-Chair
Director at Armanino LLP
Gunther Hofmann (CFA, CVA, CEPA) is a Director at Armanino LLP, the largest independent California based CPA/Consulting firm. He leads the corporate finance activities of the firm, providing sell-side as well as buy-side M&A representation as well as valuation services. He has previously worked in software strategy consulting, a semiconductor start-up, and an automotive venture capital fund.
Munich Chapter Chair
Based in San Francisco and her home town, Munich, Uschi is plugged into a global network of M&A experts that she built over the past 20 years. Having experienced what it takes to build an engineering company from the ground up in Silicon Valley, her international expertise in Investor Relations, Business Development/Sales and Corporate Marketing help you make sure our clients are one step ahead.
A German and American citizen, with an MBA (summa cum laude) under her belt, she managed teams and budgets for companies like LSI Logic, National Semiconductor, PalmSource, Informatica and Yahoo, both in Europe and the US. At the brink of extinction, she was also instrumental in turning around the German-American-International School, Menlo Park, now a recognized World IB School, by introducing a new marketing concept, the International Baccalaureate.
As board member, she is presiding the Munich Chapter of the German American Business Association, an established networking organization in Silicon Valley, founded in 2003.
If Uschi is not on board a plane between Munich and San Francisco, you will likely reach her on adventurous treks or extreme skiing terrain.
Women in Business Interest Group
Linda Kotzot Cleary is Chair of the GABA Women in Business (WIB) Group, and a senior lead generation marketing manager, with 15 years’ experience leading successful multi-channel marketing programs for high-tech companies and international business organizations.
Previously, she’s led online prospect acquisition programs for Dell, developed top revenue-producing programs for email automation company Lyris, and managed global communication campaigns for innovation-mapping software company Mindjet.
Linda is German-born and a long-time California resident, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing from Santa Clara University. For details visit: linkedin.com/in/lindakcleary
Berlin Chapter Chair
Chief Technology Officer at Questico AG
Ulrich Kohl is Chief Technology Officer of Questico AG in Berlin, Germany, a VC-backed company providing a cross-media marketplace (internet, telephony, print, TV) for life advice. Before becoming a Questico founder in San Francisco and returning to Germany as an entrepreneur, he was working in Silicon Valley as a scientist, software engineer and security architect at IBM Almaden Research Center, SAP Labs Palo Alto and the Sun Microsystems, Inc. headquarter.
Ulrich Kohl holds a MS in business information systems from University of Mannheim and a PhD in economics from University of Freiburg.
Southern California Chapter Vice-Chair
Partner at Drake Star Partners
Michael is a Partner at Drake Star Partners and provides M&A and financing advisory services to Internet, media, entertainment and technology companies. Drake Star Partners is a global media & tech investment bank with offices in New York, London, Paris, Munich, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berlin, Amsterdam, Geneva and Tokyo. Previously, Michael was a senior banker at Houlihan Lokey’s TMT group, Principal at MESA, a merchant bank and advisory firm specializing in digital media and entertainment transactions. Prior to MESA, Michael was Co-Founder and Principal at Covert & Co., Vice President at New Century Capital Partners, and held senior management and engineering positions at AT&T, IBM and Mindspeed.
Michael holds 5 patents in the field of Communications, and he also serves as a Board Director of the German American Business Association (GABA) and as a Vice-Chair of the Southern California Chapter.
Michael was raised in Stuttgart, Germany and received an MSEE from University of Ulm, Germany and an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Anderson School of Management.
GABA Chief Financial Officer
Sr Project Manager at the Siemens Ultrasound HQ
Juliane Nandra is a Sr Project Manager at the Siemens Ultrasound HQ in Mountain View, passionately driving cross-functional projects as part of their PMO. She has lived in the Bay Area since 2008 and has worked in different financial controlling roles at Siemens, before changing into project management and getting her PMP certification in 2016. Before coming to the Bay Area, Juliane worked in the Investment Banking sector at theSociété Générale in Paris, France and in a consulting role in Vienna, Austria. She holds a triple Master’s degree in International Finance and Management from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, University of Metz (France) and the University of Luxembourg.
GABA Director and Co-Founder
Executive Director Global Sales for Perceptual Computing/AI for Intel
Thomas started and managed numerous companies with disruptive technologies, from start-up, M&A to IPO, in a global environment. Current expertise is around 3D depth/AI into segments such as drones, robotics, a/r + v/r, automotive and IoT verticals. Growing domestic and international companies between Germany and the US has been his motivation to cofound and be involved in an organization like GABA. A specialty is building global teams in Europe and Asia. As VP/GM Deutsche Telekom he was leading the NA activities for innovative partnering. Activities ranged from technology scouting to partner management. Before he managed worldwide accounts at Logitech incl. all TV manufacturers to introduce Google TV gen2. Over 8 years as VP BD, he was involved in numerous start-ups evangelizing desktop video conferencing (like Vidyo) and worked with Skype & Google.
Married with 2 children Thomas is trying to stay healthy by coaching and running Marathons around the world. He co-founded GABA “German American Business Association” a none profit business network and also co-founded SVMC “Silicon Valley Marathon Club.
Partner at Kilpatrick Townsend
Dr. Siegmar Pohl is partner in the international law firm Kilpatrick Townsend in San Francisco. He specializes in cross-border corporate and technology transactions. He has almost two decades of experience practicing law in California and in Berlin, Germany. Siegmar represents European and Asian clients in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), venture capital and strategic investments, as well as technology transactions in the United States. He also represents US clients with their investments and acquisitions in Germany. His particular strengths include cross-border deals involving intellectual property assets (patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights). His clients frequently ask him for advice on minimizing liability risks when entering the US market and launching technology products. In this context, Siegmar regularly holds workshops and training sessions for foreign board members and managers, coaching them on their duties, liabilities and corporate governance issues.
Siegmar is a frequent speaker at international conferences and workshops. He is member of the Board of Directors of the German School of the East Bay, Inc., and of the member of the German American Lawyer’s Association. In his free time he likes to ski and play tennis with his four kids, or play drums with his garage band.
Advisory Council Chair
Cyber Security Industry Group Chair
Principal & Founder Tiburon Consulting LLC
Uwe Wagner is the Principal and Founder at Tiburon Consulting LLC, a San Francisco Bay Area boutique consulting firm, dedicated to coaching the growth and success of European high-tech entrepreneurial ventures and university spin-off’s by connecting ideas, technology and people. I work with a network of industry experts, venture capitalists, private investors and technologists to provide insights about how to effectively grow high-tech ventures amidst dynamic market risks and challenges. Through my partner ecosystem I offer an excellent opportunity for my clients to network and learn about pivotal business issues, emerging industries and the latest technologies.
Partner at WilmerHale
Member of the Corporate, M&A, Emerging Companies and Venture Capital Practice
Mr. Zimmermann’s practice draws on his extensive experience in complex corporate transactions and venture technology issues. His experience includes advising emerging growth companies and technology startups on a variety of corporate and corporate finance matters, and counseling venture capital firms as well as global venture and private equity funds in their portfolio investments. Daniel’s practice also has an international focus that involves the regular representation of clients in global expansions and off-shore acquisitions by US companies. Daniel also has experience working at a European law firm where he worked on private equity, capital markets and venture capital transactions in both London and Munich. Daniel is a member of the California and New York Bar Associations and the International Law Sections of the American and New York Bar Associations. He has served as chair of the Executive Committee of the International Law Section of the State Bar of California for the 2009-2010 term and has also served as vice president and board member of the German-American International School. Daniel is recognized as “Up and Coming” in the 2011 edition of Chambers USA for his corporate/M&A and venture capital practice.